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article imageStudy: Marijuana usage may raise stroke risk

By Michael Krebs     Mar 11, 2013 in Science
Speaking with a reporter at the International Stroke Conference, Dr Alan Barber of the University of Auckland shared findings from a study that suggests a link between stroke and cannabis usage.
There may be a link between marijuana usage and strokes, according to Dr. Alan Barber of the University of Auckland in a video interview published in Cardiology News.
Speaking with a reporter at the International Stroke Conference in February, Dr. Barber, a stroke neurologist, suggested the risk to be a notable one but acknowledged that more research is needed.
The researchers studied 160 stroke patients and 160 non-stroke patients aged 18 to 55.
"So, a hundred and sixty stroke patients, a hundred and sixty controls," Barber said. "16 percent of our youngest stroke patients had cannabis detected in their urine, which came as a surprise. That's 1 of 6, give or take, versus only 8 percent of the control patients - so, suggesting a doubling of the risk as a result of cannabis."
While it is important to note that the relative risk of a stroke among young adults is very small, the results of this study do point to a curiosity.
"The average age of our stroke patients is 45," Barber said. "The risk of having a stroke at 45 is starting to increase, and it's no longer a tiny risk. So, doubling a moderate risk is clinically significant."
According to the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana usage is widespread among adolescents and young adults.
"Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug (15.2 million past-month users) according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)," NIH reported on the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site.
More about Marijuana, Stroke, Cardiology, Cardiovascular disease, Heart disease
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